Effects of parasite specificity and previous infestation of hosts on the feeding and reproductive success of rodent-infesting fleas Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. We examined whether identity of the rodent host and previous infestation of the host affect feeding and reproduction of fleas. We predicted that feeding and reproductive success of fleas would be higher when feeding on (i) a typical host than on an atypical host; and (ii) a pristine host than on a host previously exposed to parasitism. We also predicted that the negative effect of previous infestation would not be manifested in a host-specific flea feeding on its typical host. 2. To test these predictions, we measured blood meal size, egg production and latency of oviposition in host-specific Parapulex chephrenis and host-opportunistic Xenopsylla ramesis during seven daily feedings on the Egyptian spiny mouse Acomys cahirinus (typical host of the former) and Wagner's gerbil Dipodillus dasyurus (typical host of the latter). 3. Blood meal size in P. chephrenis did not depend on either host species or previous host infestation with fleas. However, when this flea fed on D. dasyurus as opposed to A. cahi

publication date

  • June 1, 2008